A tire that goes flat again and again can cost you a LOT of time. After all, who wants to be stopping every few miles to fill up a tire with air? Or stranded in the garage every morning with a flat? It’s inconvenient and a huge pain when you need to get somewhere FAST.
The way to get rid of that pesky inconvenient flat? Figure out what’s causing your repeated flat, so you can figure out how to keep your tires full of air and on the road (and you don’t always have to replace the tire!).
The problem: A small object, such as a nail, can puncture your tire and cause a small hole that leaks.
The solution: Jack your car up and remove the tire. Check the tire over carefully for any small holes or punctures. If you can’t find any obvious holes, fill the tire with air and put your ear to the tire. Listen very carefully for the sound of air escaping. If you can’t hear anything, use a spray bottle to apply soapy water to the tire. Small bubbles indicate there is a leak in the tire. Schedule an appointment with your mechanic so they can fix your tire and get rid of that annoying leak (or so they can find the leak if you don’t want to).
Bad valve stem
The problem: Tire valve stems can go bad over time, causing air to seep out a little at a time.
The solution: To determine if your valve stem is the cause of a repeated flat tire, spray your valve stem with soapy water and look for bubbles. If your valve stems are bad, the fix is a very affordable new valve stem.
Bad tire bead
The problem: Your tire bead is the outside surface that seals your tire to your tire rims. If the tire bead is damaged, usually from corrosion from road chemicals, your tire is going to slowly leak air.
The solution: Contact a mechanic to fix the problem or use the spray bottle and soapy water to find out if your tire bead is the source of the leak. If the tire bead is the source of the problem, it’s time to make the call and order a new set of tires.
The problem: Dented or bent tire rims can cause a persistent tire leak, and you may not even notice the rim is warped.
The solution: Often, a good spray of soapy water can tell you if your tire rims are the source of the recurring flat. Contact your mechanic to confirm your rims are faulty and purchase a new set of rims.
The problem: Cold winter weather can cause tire pressure to drop, though it should not cause so much air to leak that your tire pressure monitor system dash light repeatedly comes on.
The solution: Check your tire pressure (instructions for checking tire pressure here) and add a quick pound (or several pounds) of air to your tire. Wait for the warm weather that’ll eventually come and eliminate your flat tire.